She was a fresh-faced young woman with a couple of adorable kids, whiling away an hour in the sandbox at the park near my home. So was I, or so I thought.
New in town, I had come to the park in hopes of finding some friends for myself and my little ones.
Her eyes flicked over to where my daughter sat, shovel gripped in a tiny fist, and then traveled quickly away. The remark that followed was directed to the woman next to her, but her voice carried clearly across the playground. "Isn't it a shame," she said, an eyebrow cocked in Margaret's direction, "that everyone doesn't get amnio?"
The cruelty of that comment is unfathomable to me.
I thought of our sweet and funny niece, Melissa. Melissa has Down Syndrome. In that mother's eyes, it's a shame she's alive.
I thought of our darling goddaughter, Jenny. Jenny has Down Syndrome. In that mother's eyes, it's a shame she's alive.
I thought of Jenny's dear brother, Michael. Michael has Down Syndrome, and has survived leukemia. In that mother's eyes, it's a shame he's alive.
Did that woman at the playground really believe it? I wonder if she could really look into the eyes of Melissa, and Jenny and Michael and say, "It's a shame you're alive."
She came close ... she simply avoided the eye contact.
The article wasn't completely depressing. By the end of it, I was able to smile with Margaret's mother about Margaret's job, her school roommates and her interest in the Red Sox and wrestling. I looked at Margaret's graduation picture and saw a happy young woman, and a proud family.
I thought again of Melissa. And of Jenny and Michael. I thought of their smiles, of their proud families, and of the happiness and love they have experienced and have brought to others' lives.
And I wondered how anyone could think they are "a shame."
We live in a sad and confused world.